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Calif. child tortured to death in family's exorcism ritual, court documents show

By Ashley Williams

May 12 (UPI) -- A 3-year-old California child whose Sept. 24 death was ruled a homicide suffered from torture in an exorcism ritual performed by her family, court documents show.

Arely Naomi Proctor was killed at a small church in San Jose, Calif., after her mother, uncle and grandfather strangled her in apparent efforts to cast out a demon they believed was inside the girl, according to Santa Clara County prosecutors.

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Documents show the family told police they believed she was possessed due to the child's occasional bouts of screaming or crying upon waking up.

The adults allegedly held the child down by her legs and torso and for hours, and stuck their fingers and hands down her throat to force her to vomit, according to descriptive court documents.

On Feb. 2, authorities charged the child's mother, 25-year-old Claudia Elisa Hernandez, with felony assault on a child with force likely to produce great bodily injury.

The mother waited over an hour to call emergency responders after the child's death.

Hernandez, who remains in jail without bond, reportedly did not feed the child during the incident and squeezed her neck, authorities told the Mercury News.

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The victim's grandfather was the church leader of Iglesia Apostoles y Profetas, according to documents, and claimed to be a certified pastor.

Santa Clara County medical examiners ruled her death a homicide by asphyxiation.

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